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In the press materials for “Critical Thinking,” producer Carla Berkowitz drops this line about her reaction to reading the true story that inspired the film: “The image and story was haunting and I felt like I had a quantum shift in my perception of chess and who plays it.” The who in question are five Miami-area Black and Latino men who, along with their teacher, Mr. Martinez, brought back to their underprivileged Florida neighborhood the U.S. National Chess Championship. This happened in 1998. The film chronicles the loving camaraderie of the players and the events leading up to their victory.

In that same press release, acclaimed writer and actor John Leguizamo , who plays Martinez and also directs, states that he wanted to make this film because there were very few representations of Latin people on-screen when he was growing up. He also mentioned that the book The Bell Curve  harmfully depicted people of color as being mentally inferior due to our genetics. I wondered if, like me, Leguizamo grew up in an environment where the Black and brown people he knew played chess, so that it wouldn’t seem unusual nor an anomaly that they did. Because Berkowitz’s statement really made me consider what exactly the standard issue chess player was supposed to look like.

Chess has appeared in a lot of movies, from Boaz Yakin ’s “ Fresh ” to Steven Zaillian ’s “Searching for Bobby Fisher” to 2016’s superb Mira Nair film, “ Queen of Katwe .” I even remember it being prevalent in a crappy Gary Coleman TV movie about a smart Black kid. The game always carries the same symbolic qualifier: the person who plays it has a mental capacity for strategy and is intelligent. Chess is often employed to teach life lessons in these movies, to the point where it has become a cliché that just so happens to be used differently depending on who’s playing it. This difference is something that I admit often sticks in my craw, so I found myself wrestling a bit with this movie even though it seemed to be addressing my concern.

Unlike Zaillian’s film, which I guess answers my question of what a “standard issue” chess player is supposed to look like, the protagonists in the other films I’ve mentioned, and in “Critical Thinking,” are people of color whose economical circumstances are far from ideal. This tends to be the model when minorities are seen playing chess in films, which bends the cinematic chess player cliché toward making the ability to play the game the audience’s reason to offer empathy. Sure, they’re broke, probably in crime-ridden areas and may even do a crime or two, but see, they’re smart, so it’s OK to feel for them! This line of thinking has to do with who stereotypically plays chess and who does not.

Leguizamo’s Mr. Martinez speaks to this early in “Critical Thinking” by asking why chess is never associated with brown people despite a Latin man playing a major role in its evolution. “Why don’t you think we know about him?” he asks the students in his critical thinking class before delivering a great, pointed monologue that speaks about how history is taught in schools. The script by Dito Montiel has some sharp commentary about the education system, from what gets funded to the over-reliance on test scores to the differences between Martinez’s inner city school and the posh preppy institutions who fall victim to our heroes on the tournament circuit. There’s a bit more bite than you may be expecting, and the writing is just prickly enough to balance out the moments when the film dives headfirst into its tropes. And there are numerous tropes to swim in; not only is this a sports movie, it’s also an entry in the “Beloved Teacher” genre.

Our chess champion team is comprised of Sedrick Roundtree ( Corwin C. Tuggles ), Ito Paniagua (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), Gil Luna ( Will Hochman ), Rodelay Medina (Angel Curiel) and later, Marcel Martinez ( Jeffry Batista ) who joins the team after dispensing a hustler’s ass-whipping in a speed chess match. Their dialogue is peppered with the language the PG-13 won’t allow but realism will. Martinez is often telling them “watch your mouth” in his class, even if, in his less guarded moments, he’s prone to occasional profanity. Leguizamo gets good performances from each of them, especially in moments where you really feel the bond between teammates, both in the tournaments and in the streets. When they tell each other that they’ve got each other’s backs, there’s a real emotional pull that emanates straight from the actors.

Though this is an inspirational movie, Leguizamo and Montiel never sugarcoat the dangers of the environment their characters inhabit. The potential for violence, temporary homelessness, crime, and police harassment are always hovering in the margins, sometimes even invading the safe space of Martinez’s class or the school. An early sequence that shockingly ends in violence shows how good Leguizamo is at quickly establishing the audience’s tie to a character. When Rivera (Dre C) is thrown into critical thinking class after a disciplinary problem (“my class is not detention!” Martinez yells at frenemy Principal Kesler [ Rachel Bay Jones ]), he immediately runs afoul of Ito. Rivera’s lack of response is due to Spanish being his primary language, which may also have something to do with the infraction that got him sent to this class. Martinez talks to him in Spanish, lectures Ito and all seems well.

Rivera is then brutally assassinated in broad daylight after accidentally bumping into another person on the street. The film is barely 15 minutes old when this happens, but it immediately establishes that “Critical Thinking” has no plans of abandoning reality for its feel-good message. That sense of realism extends to the way the characters bond with, rib, and defend each other. Additionally, Leguizamo plays Martinez as someone who understands the temptations and frustrations of his students’ world. He challenges them to do for themselves because he knows all too well that the system has no intention of lending a helping hand.

Like Nair does in “Queen of Katwe,” Leguizamo also blatantly refuses to impose on poverty any notions of shame or requests for pity. “Chess is the great equalizer,” Martinez tells his team as they navigate snooty tournament heads and appearances against challengers from much posher ‘hoods. Even when things get expectedly dire for some of the characters, “Critical Thinking” remains focused on the characters’ response to the situation, never once stripping them of their dignity for cheap emotional manipulation.

Of all the team members, Sedrick has the most detailed arc. He has a girlfriend, Chanayah ( Zora Casebere ), who is supportive and tougher than she looks, and a father ( Michael Kenneth Williams ) whose sole job here is to fill that chess movie trope of the angry guy who uses chess as a means of brutal domination. Williams is an always welcome presence, but I could have done without him. Still, there is one very good moment where he shows some growth, and his son makes a snide comment that he silently acknowledges as being right.

The chess scenes are good even if you know nothing about chess. I’ve been playing since I was five, so of course I wanted more detailed representations than Leguizamo provides. I found his classroom lessons and the team’s banter about moves fascinating, and every time I was given a good look at a chessboard, I got closer to the screen to investigate. And yet, despite its acknowledgement of my aforementioned issues, I still felt a little itchy watching “Critical Thinking.” I am always game for a movie that makes me reckon with my personal feelings and biases, and I’m glad this one exists because representation will always speak volumes. If nothing else, “Critical Thinking” reminds you what a chess player can look like.

Odie Henderson

Odie Henderson

Odie "Odienator" Henderson has spent over 33 years working in Information Technology. He runs the blogs Big Media Vandalism and Tales of Odienary Madness. Read his answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire  here .

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Critical Thinking (2020)

117 minutes

John Leguizamo as Mario Martinez

Rachel Bay Jones as Principal Kestel

Michael Kenneth Williams as Mr. Roundtree

Corwin C. Tuggles as Sedrick Roundtree

Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Ito Paniagua

Angel Bismark Curiel as Rodelay Medina

Will Hochman as Gil Luna

Jeffry Batista as Marcel Martinez

Zora Casebere as Chanayah

  • John Leguizamo
  • Dito Montiel


  • Zach Zamboni
  • Jamie Kirkpatrick
  • Chris Hajian

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‘Critical Thinking’ Review: All the Right Moves

John Leguizamo directs and stars in this warmhearted drama about underprivileged teenagers who enter a national chess championship.

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critical thinking film review guardian

By Jeannette Catsoulis

Whether championing math, poetry, or just how to be a decent human being , the inspirational teacher is as familiar to movie audiences as the class stoner. “Critical Thinking” does little to detach itself from genre cliché; yet this heartfelt drama about a rough-and-tumble group of high-schoolers who claw their way to a national chess tournament has a sweetness that softens its flaws.

Based on a true story and set in an underserved Miami neighborhood in 1998, the movie drops us into the boisterous classroom of Mr. Martinez (played by the director, John Leguizamo).

“Chess is the great equalizer,” he tells his multiethnic students, using the game to teach his critical thinking elective — with a side of racial history discouraged by his school board. The principal (Rachel Bay Jones) might treat his classroom like a dumping ground for miscreants, but Martinez, assisted by wigs and funny accents, explains complicated chess moves with a deftness that cuts through their indifference.

With goals as modest as the lives of its characters, “Critical Thinking” follows the predictable arc of the underdog drama as the chess team overcomes troubled home situations and other setbacks on the road to a Beverly Hills-set finale. Slow and straightforward, the movie knows that a chess match is hardly a barnburner; but its lively young performers and their eventual triumph are easy to warm to. Drugs and gangs might beckon — and immigration officers hover just outside the frame — but they’re no match for the values of sportsmanship and teamwork. And Mr. Martinez’s pep talks.

Critical Thinking Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 57 minutes. Watch through virtual cinemas, or rent or buy on iTunes , Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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Critical Thinking

John Leguizamo in Critical Thinking (2020)

The true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team which was the first inner city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship. The true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team which was the first inner city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship. The true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team which was the first inner city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship.

  • John Leguizamo
  • Dito Montiel
  • Rachel Bay Jones
  • Michael Kenneth Williams
  • 31 User reviews
  • 20 Critic reviews
  • 65 Metascore

Official Trailer

  • Mr. Martinez

Rachel Bay Jones

  • Principal Kestel

Michael Kenneth Williams

  • Mr. Roundtree

Corwin C. Tuggles

  • Sedrick Roundtree

Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

  • Oelmy 'Ito' Paniagua
  • (as Jorge Lendeborg)

Angel Bismark

  • Rodelay Medina
  • (as Angel Bismark Curiel)

Jeffry Batista

  • Marcel Martinez

Will Hochman

  • Detective Ransone

Dave Baez

  • Detective Vargas
  • Michael Rivera

Mike Benitez

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Kizra Deon

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My All-American

Did you know

  • Trivia Martinez started the after-school chess club in 1992 after his teacher's lounge rounds of chess with another teacher sparked student interest. His playing partner left the school that year and students began challenging him to matches so the club was born.
  • Goofs During Ito's game at the regional tournament, both Ito and Martinez say that he is in "Zugzwang". However, in a real "Zugzwang" situation, a player loses only because he is forced to make a move, while Ito lose the same way even if it was his opponent's time to move, as he could take the pawn on d3 with the queen.

Mr. Martinez : All right, now, people, this is gonna be very basic for some of you, but for the fish, or the newbies as I like to call you, this is gonna be eye opening because what you've got is 64 squares, 32 pieces, it doesn't matter how rich or poor you are, what Ivy League school you may go or you may not go to, what prison you hopefully never set foot in, because chess is the great equalizer.

  • Crazy credits Over the credits, there are interviews with the real people who the movie is based on.
  • Soundtracks What Would You Do Written by Timothy McNealy Performed by Timothy McNealy Published by Afrika Kuruvilla Kurian, BMI

User reviews 31

  • noahharrigan
  • Jun 7, 2022
  • How long is Critical Thinking? Powered by Alexa
  • September 4, 2020 (United States)
  • United States
  • Eleştirel Düşünme
  • Miami, Florida, USA
  • Critical thinking
  • Cinema Veritas
  • Hialeah Park Studios
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro
  • $3,000,000 (estimated)

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  • Runtime 1 hour 57 minutes

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‘Critical Thinking’ Review: John Leguizamo’s Inspirational High-School Chess Drama

The true story of the Miami Jackson High chess team — five brainy wizards from the inner city — is told in a rousing but conventional way.

By Owen Gleiberman

Owen Gleiberman

Chief Film Critic

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Critical thinking

“ Critical Thinking ” is one of those up-from-the-streets high-school competition movies where just mentioning the true story it’s based on kind of gives the game away. Set in 1998, it’s about the five chess wizards from Miami Jackson High who became the first inner-city chess team to win the National Championship. Boom! But, of course, it’s how they got there that matters, and even if this movie weren’t based on a true story, you’d know more or less know where it’s going. “Critical Thinking” has some appealing young actors, and it’s been directed, by John Leguizamo (who costars as the film’s tough-saint teacher), in a way that gives them the space to clown around and then get serious. It’s still, in the end, a bit of a connect-the-inspirational-dots movie, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be inspired.

Leguizamo plays Mario Martinez, who teaches an elective class in chess at Miami Jackson, where his students call him “Mr. T.” They’re a rowdy, bellicose, street-smart bunch, hard to control in class, so at first we think we’re seeing one of those movies, like “Stand and Deliver” or “To Sir, with Love,” about a captivatingly square gadfly instructor who shows a bunch of underprivileged kids how to transcend the expectations (or lack thereof) that have been thrust upon them.

In a way, “Critical Thinking” is one of those movies, though with a crucial caveat: The basic training — the intellectual whipping into shape — has all happened before the drama even starts. Martinez, in his thankless underpaid plaid-shirts-off-the-rack way, is beloved by his students, and he has taught them well; they’re chess players who’ve got the game in their blood. (It’s the only thing that gets them to settle down .) Leguizamo, who spent a number of his early one-man stage shows sketching in (often quite brilliantly) the lives of young people from a similar background, knows how to create scenes that bubble with spontaneity. And he himself plays Martinez with an effusive, slightly weary middle-aged demeanor that’s touching, because what he nails is the unabashed corniness of certain great high-school teachers — their willingness to put on a show for their kids, to turn the life of the mind into energized nerd theater.

At one point, using the magnetic chess board at the front of the class, he plays out a chess match authored (and recorded) by Paul Morphy in 1858, and he makes it sound as exciting as something on Roblox. He employs silly accents (Southern, French, Austrian) and puts on wigs and fake beards to enact the game, and he draws the kids into it, challenging them in his geek-with-cool-slang way (“Why is it a wack move, Sedrick? Don’t just talk to me, man, show me!”).

It’s one of the only scenes where we actually witness the mechanics of chess, and while that’s always a challenge for a chess drama (there’s only so much it can lure the lay audience into the heady intricacies of the game), I wish the students’ connection with chess were less of a given, and a little less abstract. Watching “Critical Thinking,” you’d never even know that the art of chess is rooted in thinking several moves ahead. Yet Leguizamo stages the matches with percussive power, the kids pounding their time clocks even as their eyes burrow into the board like lasers.

Much of the film’s appeal lies in the way it revels in chess as a pure symbol of leveling the playing field of opportunity. As Mr. T explains, chess is “the great equalizer.” It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, what Ivy League college or prison you’re in: The elemental nature of the game shears away everything but intellectual ability. So in a drama like “Critical Thinking,” where five students (four Latinx and one African-American) bust out of a high school with limited resources to attend a series of tournaments, there’s a democracy-in-action, anyone-can-win-in-America spirit.

The actors are terrific; the roles, as written, less so. Leguizamo is working from a script, by Dito Montiel, that walks the line between lived-in experience and overboiled cliché. Sedrick is played by Corwin Tuggles, who has a great pensive face, and he lends conviction to the character’s struggles at home. But it still feels like a contrivance that his father (Michael Kenneth Williams), an angry curmudgeon who treats his son’s chess victories as if they were beneath contempt, is also…the guy who plays chess with him every day! The other pivotal character is the canny hothead Ito (Jorge Lendeborg Jr,.), who begins to moonlight as a drug dealer, and though it’s not that we don’t buy it, it plays out like one of those obligatory flirtation-with-delinquency subplots from the 1980s.

There’s also a newly arrived immigrant from Cuba who joins the class — a sleek prodigy named Marcel (Jeffrey Batista), who can play (and win) four simultaneous games with his eyes closed. Always good to have someone like that on your team! As likable an actor as Leguizamo is, “Critical Thinking” never generates the teacher/student face-off intensity that “Stand and Deliver” did. The issue of how the team members fund their trips, with Martinez having to win over a skeptical principal (Rachel Bay Jones), creates some tension along the sidelines, yet once these kids start to win their tournaments it seems like they can do no wrong. The picture is pleasant enough, but watching it you’re always one or two moves ahead.


Reviewed online, Aug. 31, 2020. MPAA Rating: Not rated. Running time: 113 MIN.

  • Production: A Vertical Entertainment release of a Chaplin/Berkowitz production, in association with NRSP, Cinema Veritas. Producers: Scott Rosenfelt, Jason Mandl. Executive producers: Harvey R. Chaplin, Carla Berkowitz, Emilio Estefan Jr.
  • Crew: Director: John Leguizamo. Screenplay: Dito Montiel. Camera: Zach Zambone. Editor: Jamie Kirkpatrick. Music: Chris Hajian.
  • With: John Leguizamo, Corwin Tuggles, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Will Hochman, Angel Curiel, Jeffrey Batista, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rachel Bay Jones, Zora Casebere.

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‘Critical Thinking’: Review

By Tim Grierson, Senior US Critic 2020-03-14T01:15:00+00:00

John Leguizamo’s directorial debut is the true story of an unlikely championship chess team

Critical Thinking

‘Critical Thinking’

Dir: John Leguizamo. US. 2019. 117mins

Chronicling the true story of an unlikely championship chess team, Critical Thinking has plenty of heart, which unfortunately can’t make up for its fairly uninspired design and predictable trajectory. Making his feature directorial debut, John Leguizamo (who also stars) digs into the cultural and political dimensions of the true story of an underfunded high school squad that, against all odds, bested players from more privileged communities. This inspirational sports drama has a worthy message — for many kids from difficult backgrounds, an education is crucial for escaping poverty — but viewers may ultimately prefer to have seen a documentary about the real-life participants rather than this earnest, conventional dramatisation.

Fashions itself as a classic underdog tale from the start

Initially programmed for South By Southwest, Critical Thinking will court buyers on the strength of Leguizamo’s marquee value. Fans of feel-good sports movies — especially ones based on real events — should be intrigued, and the up-and-coming cast of young Latinx and African-American actors will appeal to audiences hungry for more diversity on screen.

In Miami in 1998, a dedicated but overworked teacher named Mr. Martinez (Leguizamo) works at one of Dade County’s poorest schools, running a chess class for students who, oftentimes, have very little else that’s positive in their lives. But once young men like Ito (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), who has to work long hours to support himself, and Sedrick (Corwin Tuggles), who has a disciplinarian father, become experts in the game, Martinez fights to get the school to support a team that will compete in district meets.

Like many recent true-life dramas, Critical Thinking shows the real individuals during the end credits, speaking briefly about their experiences with this chess team. That device has become a bit of a cliché, which unfortunately is fitting for a film that too easily follows the tired tenets of sports dramas. It fashions itself as a classic underdog tale from the start, and nothing that happens in subsequent reels diverts Dito Montiel’s script from its predetermined big-game finale.

That’s a shame because Leguizamo is quite likeable as Martinez, largely staying away from the kinds of showy speeches that plague films of this ilk. This wise but pragmatic teacher, who grew up in the same community as his students, knows that rousing oratory won’t help these kids. Instead, he shows tough love and advocates for chess’s efficient, dispassionate strategising, which might motivate these players to feel like they have control over their destiny. And as a director, Leguizamo does a good job of conveying the controlled chaos of a high school classroom as Martinez relates to his brash, unruly wards, lending those scenes a realistically rambunctious energy.

Lendeborg and Tuggles lead a confident young cast, who often bring sensitivity to roles that are underwritten. Even though the characters are drawn from actual members of the ’98 chess team, Critical Thinking tends to simplify their hardships until they feel like generic coming-of-age plights. (Ito gets involved in selling drugs, while Sedrick’s clashes with his dad, played by Michael Kenneth Williams, don’t have much resonance.) Because Leguizamo has to focus on several students’ arcs, none of their chess exploits are particularly riveting — which makes the team’s journey to the national championship less exciting than it should be.

Still, the movie’s thoughtful tenor isn’t to be discounted. This team will face off against opponents who are often white and privileged, and Critical Thinking consistently asks the audience to consider the racism and daily disadvantages that America’s poorer communities must endure. For these students, chess is the one level playing field they have — the board doesn’t discriminate because of your background, finances or skin colour — and there’s poignancy in the small measure of comfort that provides our characters. But the filmmakers’ willingness to plug their story into an inspirational-drama framework turns out to be a bad move — nuance and insight get sacrificed for reassuring narrative payoffs. 

Production company: Chaplin/Berkowitz Productions

International sales: UTA, [email protected]  

Producers: Scott Rosenfelt, Jason Mandl

Screenplay: Dito Montiel

Production design: Mark Harrington

Editing: Jamie Kirkpatrick

Cinematography: Zach Zamboni

Music: Chris Hajian

Main cast: John Leguizamo, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Angel Bismark Curiel, Will Hochman, Corwin Tuggles, Jeffry Batista, Zora Casebere, Ramses Jimenez, Rachel Bay Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams

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Critical Thinking Reviews

critical thinking film review guardian

John Leguizamo’s Critical Thinking is a strategic crowd-pleaser.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5 | Sep 9, 2022

critical thinking film review guardian

It’s difficult to not become invested in a light-hearted story with good intentions, even when the storytelling feels scattershot at times.

Full Review | Original Score: 7/10 | Jun 5, 2022

critical thinking film review guardian

A smart and solid directing debut.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5 / 5 | Jun 25, 2021

critical thinking film review guardian

This drama is the classic story of an underdog team overcoming the odds and making it all the way; unfortunately, it falls back on stereotypical characterizations to tell its tale.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | May 19, 2021

critical thinking film review guardian

The film questions the failures of the educational system through the experiences of a group of students of Latin and African American background [Full Review in Spanish]

Full Review | Jan 8, 2021

critical thinking film review guardian

This is a movie for this moment, one that offers hope to the marginalized without pandering to them or offering up insincere platitudes.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4.0 | Nov 27, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

an engaging and moving reminder that externally imposed limitations are meant to be shattered

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4 | Sep 21, 2020

The endearing cast generates hard-earned sympathy to keep the underdog clichés in check.

Full Review | Sep 19, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

It's filmed as if a conventional docudrama.

Full Review | Original Score: B- | Sep 13, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

Critical Thinking is worth a look for people who want to see a real-life inspirational story portrayed in a familiar way. The believable performances from most of the cast go a long way in preventing the movie from sinking into forgettable mediocrity.

Full Review | Sep 12, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

[It] captures the appeal of chess without defaulting to a white perspective of these students. It may be overly familiar at times, but just like the game of chess itself, sometimes it's the smallest moves that end up making the biggest difference.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Sep 11, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

John Leguizamo managed to make chess interesting while telling this true story of a Miami, Florida teacher. He inspired his students and to a degree the movie inspires us all.

Full Review | Original Score: 6/10 | Sep 9, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

You won't find a lot of surprises in this story, but then the reason these formulas are so familiar is because they work.

Full Review | Sep 8, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

When John Leguizamo is just flowing with those kids... this movie is as good as any other [classroom drama].

Full Review | Sep 5, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

Director and Star John Leguizamo makes all the right moves in bringing story of underdog high school chess team to the screen.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5 | Sep 5, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

It's the kind of movie that gives you hope for America.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5 | Sep 4, 2020

If nothing else, Critical Thinking reminds you what a chess player can look like.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4 | Sep 4, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

The story of Critical Thinking may be familiar and seem clichéd, but there's a specificity to its storytelling that's anything but those qualities.

Leguizamo's storytelling, while conventional, features lively interactions, embraceable characters and credibly depicted struggles. The tournament scenes contain sports-movie adrenaline.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4 | Sep 3, 2020

critical thinking film review guardian

This heartfelt drama about a rough-and-tumble group of high-schoolers who claw their way to a national chess tournament has a sweetness that softens its flaws.

Full Review | Sep 3, 2020

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Critical Thinking

Where to watch

Critical thinking.

2020 Directed by John Leguizamo

Chess is the great equalizer

Based on a true story from 1998, five Latino and Black teenagers from the toughest underserved ghetto in Miami fight their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher.

John Leguizamo Rachel Bay Jones Michael Kenneth Williams Corwin C. Tuggles Jorge Lendeborg Jr. Angel Bismark Curiel Will Hochman Jeffry Batista Zora Casebere Ramses Jimenez Todd Allen Durkin Brandon Somers Isaac Beverly Ruben E. A. Brown Sydney Arroyo Carlos Guerrero Michele Lepe Tatum Price

Director Director

John Leguizamo

Producers Producers

Scott M. Rosenfelt Elayne Schneiderman Schmidt Jason Mandl Joseph Krutel John J. Brunetti Jr.

Executive Producers Exec. Producers

John Leguizamo Emilio Estefan Jr. Carla Berkowitz Harvey Chaplin

Writer Writer

Dito Montiel

Casting Casting

Avy Kaufman

Editor Editor

Jamie Kirkpatrick

Cinematography Cinematography

Zach Zamboni

Production Design Production Design

J. Mark Harrington

Art Direction Art Direction

Lewis Zucker

Set Decoration Set Decoration

Composer composer.

Chris Hajian

Costume Design Costume Design

Danny Santiago

Hairstyling Hairstyling

Carol Raskin

Cinema Veritas NRSP Perfect Balance

Primary Language

Spoken languages.

English Spanish

Releases by Date

18 dec 2020, 21 jan 2021, 04 sep 2020, 05 may 2021, releases by country, russian federation.

  • Theatrical 18+
  • Theatrical 輔12級

117 mins   More at IMDb TMDb Report this page

Popular reviews

Dave Taylor

Review by Dave Taylor ★★½ 5

I know nothing about chess, but based on the overview given in this movie, it is the most random game in the whole world.

I think therein lies the problem for casual viewers checking this out. I watch hockey about as much as I play chess, but I know if the puck goes in the net, the team that put the puck in the net gets a point. They try to film the chess matches in a similar fashion to your standard sports movies, but I didn’t feel any tension mount (except for the last match) because there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what pieces were being moved. I only knew the good guys won after…


Review by JBird ★★★

Leguizamo wants his students to Critical Think, Like how to draw or come back from the brink. Although no one planned it, The year of the Gambit, With two chess submissions that don't stink.

Joshua Arispe

Review by Joshua Arispe ★★★ 4

I should probably start off by mentioning that I’m an avid chess player. Chess is the greatest game ever invented and I play it quite often. Some friends of mine also worked on this movie, which I think is pretty cool. So I had many reasons to give Critical Thinking a watch. 

It clicked with me right away. Not as inspiring as it tries to be (thanks to some lame subplots and side characters) but I enjoyed the in-depth look at chess and John Leguizamo as the instantly likeable teacher. Reminded me a lot of Edward James Olmos’ Jaime Escalante from Stand and Deliver . He nails the role and made me wish I had a teacher like him. Hell, I…


Review by Karl ★★★

The true story of a chess team from an underfunded, underserved Florida public high school. Fortunately they have a passionate teacher, Mr. Martinez, who will do whatever it takes to get them to the chess finals in Beverly Hills. Sure it's cliche and you've seen variations of this underdog can-do spirit/inspirational story before, but when it's done right it can be among the most rewarding of viewings.

It's the kind of film that feels great while watching it, but won't likely stay with you, preventing from transcending the formula. The young actors make things worthwhile, particularly Jorge Lendeborg Jr., who has it the roughest of the five players. Also on hand is the late Michael Kenneth Williams. John Leguizamo, who…

Luke Robertson

Review by Luke Robertson ★★★½

I love this genre of movie. Underdog sports team come together to completely overcome the odds. It’s not my favourite in the genre but it is still a good movie. The cast are decent as well. If you are a fan of high school dramas then I think you’ll enjoy this.

danielle ⚡

Review by danielle ⚡ ★★ 1

movies can't be formulaic and long like pick a struggle

Tim McClelland

Review by Tim McClelland ★★★½ 1

There are many films of this type. We've seen the inspirational teacher with the underdog students fighting for their time to shine. When you start watching a film that follows that formula, it will need something special to help it stand out. This movie has cliched elements, but it also has heart and it had me on edge even though I knew the outcome. It took a little time to get me invested, but once I was, I was all in on the movie. It is a great true story so to see it made into a pretty decent film is awesome. I really enjoyed watching this. There is a great story here that has some wonderful characters and it will leave you feeling good. If a movie like this leaves me with a smile on my face, I'd say it did its job just fine.

Justin Decloux

Review by Justin Decloux ★★★½

I am a sucker for an 'Based on a True Story' underdog sports movie, and the fact that this is about chess (a game I have no interest in playing, but I love due to ti's simple complexity), and stars (and was directed by) John Leguizamo makes this even more my kind of thing. It hits all the expected beats, kind of muddles it's finale (Oh, that's it?), and is directed in a workman like fashion, but I still found it a thrill.

I will continue to not play chess.

Watched for The Bay Street Video Podcast :

Nicholas Faron

Review by Nicholas Faron ★★★½

I've never understood chess, but hot damn is it exciting to watch (on screen that is).

Jacob Knight

Review by Jacob Knight ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

John Leguizamo’s feature directorial debut is an R-rated, Dito Montiel scripted after school special about inner city Miami kids winning the US National Chess Championship in ‘98. It hits every beat you expect it to, including Leguizamo (who plays the boys’ coach/teacher/mentor) reading poetry to his class, and even has one of the would-be champs return to the streets to sell drugs for a local assassin after he loses his job. And you know what? That’s fine, because even though Leguizamo isn’t a born filmmaker (the direction here is the very definition of “workmanlike”) he injects street smarts and a POV that, when combined with the troupe young/non-actors, makes it all feel lived-in as opposed to schmaltzy (which, I mean, it still totally is). Maybe I’m just a sucker for this sort of thing, but the amount of screen time devoted to the strategic history of chess alone made the dorkier parts of my brain light up.


Review by waz ★★★½ 2

Coach Carter meets Fresh meets The Queen’s Gambit . There’s truly nothing more exhilarating than seeing two individuals duke it out on one of the most ancient boardgames in history.

With the release of The Queens Gambit  as well as the sudden surge by many popular Twitch streamers, 2020 was a great year for chess that brought hundreds of newcomers to the game. Although this film in particular may have slipped under the radar during the chess boom, it has plenty of heart to it and finishes on a strong, inspirational note. There’s a bit of something for all chess players to be able to relate to or enjoy here whether it’s seeing the camaraderie within a tight-knit team or the familiar intrigue of…

Jeremy Kremser

Review by Jeremy Kremser ★★★

My dad didn’t make a single racially charged comment during this whole movie it’s a Christmas miracle

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Movie Review – Critical Thinking (2020)

August 31, 2020 by Robert Kojder

Critical Thinking , 2020.

Directed by John Leguizamo. Starring John Leguizamo, Rachel Bay Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Corwin C. Tuggles, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Angel Bismark Curiel, Will Hochman, Jeffry Batista, Zora Casebere, Ramses Jimenez, Sydney Arroyo, Brandon Somers, and Isaac Beverly.

The true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team which was the first inner city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship.

Chess is looked down upon as a high school elective course. It’s frowned upon and disregarded so much that even though the very nature of the game promotes, well, critical thinking, to the rest of the school it’s just a class where slackers and/or troubled students can take to get an easy passing mark. They, and realistically most schools, would rather fund physical sports such as football while handwaving away the fact chess is about brainpower and all-inclusive regardless of socioeconomic status. John Leguizamo’s Mario Martinez ( Critical Thinking also marks his directorial debut, discounting a made-for-TV action project about a boxer) voices this frustration verbally and directly to principal Kestel (Rachel Bay Jones), and due to the actor’s always likable fiery persona and logic, it’s easy to get on board with the sentiment.

Based on the 1998 Miami Jackson High School chess team, the story also focuses on a small group of LatinX and Black students that actually enjoying chess and testing their minds whether it’s to take their minds off of the crime surrounding them or their rough personal lives which range from dysfunctional families to temptation into drug dealing as a means to hopefully escape poverty. There’s plenty of characters that make for plenty of choices and consequences, similar to an actual game of chess.

Most notable is Sedrick Roundtree (Corwin C. Tuggles) who lives with his bitter father (the reliable Michael Kenneth Williams making the most out of a somewhat underdeveloped character) that lies around the house all day grieving his tragically deceased wife while holding and staring at pictures of her (sometimes the film is not subtle.) Dad also happens to be a decent chess player himself as father and son occasionally square off (albeit heatedly; it’s far from traditional bonding) while lambasting Sedrick’s ambitions of stepping up his game and seeing as far as his team can go in the playoffs. College football players have won the Heisman Trophy and gone nowhere in life, so what are a bunch of chess trophies going to do for anyone?

That’s his father’s logic; he’s a cynical and nearly broken man. Again, there is a supremely talented actor embodying the character but limited material, and perhaps more frustratingly, like quite a few characters is just dropped from the narrative eventually. It doesn’t help that Critical Thinking has a fairly abrupt ending that is only concerned with winning and losing rather than how the success story is going to alter their lives. We don’t even get any pre-credits random facts about what any of the students went on to do in life.

While some of the subplots are all over the place, it’s safe to say that John Leguizamo has a clear direction when it comes to not only presenting chess as a tense game (feelings heightened by wonderful music from Chris Hajian that evokes the brainiac thinking from these kids in a race against the clock making moves across various tournament matchups), but educating when it comes to the basics and specifics of the game itself, both as a director and actor. There are long sequences that can be simply summarized as Mr. Martinez lecturing on famous chess games, historical chess players, and how history itself goes beyond whatever information is being suppressed by the white people writing the textbooks. He’s such a magnetic actor that it’s easy to buy these teenagers coming from a seemingly awful part of the country that has basically nothing, engaging his cheesy inspirational speeches (it had to be an easy choice for him to play the role himself instead of casting someone). The R rating also helps, giving the students the freedom to be authentic and break out into bad habits of their own (at one point they try selling drug-laced bakery treats to raise funding to travel to one of their tournament games.)

It’s a delight watching these impoverished students battle uphill against all odds becoming a success story; it doesn’t feel like overdramatic feel-good nonsense, likely because John Leguizamo knows how to mix the bleak reality of ghetto life into uplifting sports drama. There’s definitely a few more characters than necessary and one or two plot threads that could use a little more, but what’s in Critical Thinking is intelligent enough and succinctly portrays chess as a metaphor for life. John Leguizamo has always been a terrific character actor, so it brings joy to report that his timely chess club underdog directorial debut comes with spirit and bite.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check  here  for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my  Twitter  or  Letterboxd , check out my personal non-Flickering Myth affiliated  Patreon , or email me at [email protected]


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Critical thinking, common sense media reviewers.

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Underdog chess team defies odds but plays into stereotypes.

Critical Thinking Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Positive themes of teamwork and defiance against t

Main characters are depicted as underdogs whose su

Frequent gun use. One character is abruptly shot a

Occasional kissing.

Frequent use of the words "f--k," "s--t," and "ass

Adults get drunk. Underage characters smoke cigare

Parents need to know that Critical Thinking is a fact-based drama about a high school chess team from an underserved community that defies the odds to make it to the U.S. National Chess Championship. Directed by and starring John Leguizamo, the movie has frequent swearing ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), underage…

Positive Messages

Positive themes of teamwork and defiance against the odds are prevalent. While it exposes some of the broken systems in public education, it fails to fully portray its teen characters' humanity, contributing to problematic stereotypes.

Positive Role Models

Main characters are depicted as underdogs whose success goes against everyone's expectations. Some show determination, but most play into stereotypes associated with Black and Latinx teens from under-resourced communities -- i.e., unmotivated, unintelligent jokesters. That makes it seem like their success is because of some paradoxical talent instead of their strength of character. Failure to see these kids' humanity contributes to their stereotyping, on-screen and off.

Violence & Scariness

Frequent gun use. One character is abruptly shot and killed. Another character is punched and strangled to death. Parents emotionally abuse children.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Frequent use of the words "f--k," "s--t," and "ass."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults get drunk. Underage characters smoke cigarettes. Drug dealing.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Critical Thinking is a fact-based drama about a high school chess team from an underserved community that defies the odds to make it to the U.S. National Chess Championship. Directed by and starring John Leguizamo , the movie has frequent swearing ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), underage cigarette smoking, drug dealing, punching, strangling, and gun violence that results in death. Parents emotionally abuse children. While positive themes of teamwork and overcoming challenges are prevalent, the movie's Black and Latinx teens are stereotypically depicted as unintelligent with little work ethic and their success as an anomaly. Rachel Bay Jones and Michael Kenneth Williams co-star. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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What's the Story?

In CRITICAL THINKING, teacher Mr. T ( John Leguizamo ) oversees an unofficial detention hall at Miami Jackson Senior High School, where students are sent if they're deemed troublesome. Mr. T seizes the opportunity to start a chess team, all while navigating limited resources, a school with little faith in his students' abilities, and the stressors of his students' turbulent personal lives. When the team starts to succeed, the students come up with creative fundraisers to pay for travel and lodging at their competitions. But none of this is easy. One teen faces pressures at home from an emotionally abusive father who resents his son's talents. Another is pulled into dealing drugs to make ends meet. All the while, Mr. T is the loving, encouraging adult they crave.

Is It Any Good?

This drama is the classic story of an underdog team overcoming the odds and making it all the way; unfortunately, it falls back on stereotypical characterizations to tell its tale. The Miami Jackson team seems to be in this position because its members -- Black and Latinx teens from under-resourced communities -- have historically underestimated identities. The film plays on the biases that are often held about these identities by depicting the teens as shiftless and unfocused. They're careless in their fundraising efforts, they try to pass notes during tournaments, and they use the threat of physical violence to intimidate their opponents.

Their chess skills are an afterthought, making their success feel like an anomaly. And it certainly doesn't help that a White teen joins the team as they gain momentum and becomes their shining star -- teaching the other kids new chess moves and giving them vocabulary lessons. He's the only teen character whose background, personal life, and stressors aren't explored. So while Critical Thinking is diverse in its casting and exposes some of the broken systems in public education, it misses the mark in humanizing its characters. The failure to see these kids' humanity contributes to their stereotyping, on-screen and off.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about how Critical Thinking handles stereotypes and biases. Can media offer positive representations while still promoting stereotypical characterizations?

What does Critical Thinking teach viewers about student engagement and the importance of teaching things in a fun way?

What role does teamwork play in Critical Thinking ? Why is it an important character strength ?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : September 4, 2020
  • On DVD or streaming : September 4, 2020
  • Cast : John Leguizamo , Rachel Bay Jones , Michael Kenneth Williams
  • Director : John Leguizamo
  • Inclusion Information : Latino directors, Latino actors, Female actors
  • Studio : Vertical Entertainment
  • Genre : Drama
  • Topics : High School
  • Character Strengths : Teamwork
  • Run time : 117 minutes
  • MPAA rating : NR
  • Last updated : February 19, 2023

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Best Movies for Critical Thinking: Top Picks to Challenge Your Mind

Best Movies for Critical Thinking

In today’s fast-paced world, movies have become an essential source of entertainment and learning, providing viewers with thought-provoking stories that challenge their intellect. One of the many subgenres of films that cater to this need is the category of movies for critical thinking. These films captivate audiences by presenting complex narratives that delve into unique philosophical concepts, moral dilemmas, and intricate character developments. A compelling critical thinking movie will often challenge perception and reality, encouraging viewers to reflect on the nature of humanity and the universe.

Such movies encompass a range of genres, from mind-bending dramas to thrilling science fiction. Critical thinking films often explore multi-layered philosophical themes and beliefs, offering distinct perspectives on the human condition and providing valuable insights into how we perceive the world around us. Ultimately, these movies aim to inspire audiences to think critically and question their pre-existing assumptions about life, society, and existence.

Key Takeaways

  • Critical thinking movies span various genres, offering complex narratives that promote intellectual engagement.
  • These films often explore philosophical themes and beliefs while challenging common perceptions of reality.
  • Through captivating stories, critical thinking movies encourage viewers to reflect on their own understanding of humanity and the universe.

Understanding Critical Thinking

Definition and importance.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. It involves evaluating the validity of arguments, identifying biases, and considering different perspectives to make informed decisions. Critical thinking is essential in various areas of life, as it helps individuals to solve problems, make better choices, and foster deeper understanding.

The importance of critical thinking cannot be overstated. It enables critical thinkers to navigate complex situations, think creatively, and approach new challenges with confidence. It equips individuals to discern truth from falsehood, judge the credibility of sources, and differentiate between reliable and misleading information. By fostering critical thinking skills, people become more adept at reasoning, problem solving, and effective communication.

Relation with Movies

Movies can be a potent tool for promoting critical thinking. They offer diverse settings, complex characters, and intricate storylines that stimulate the mind and encourage viewers to engage with thought-provoking content. Many movies drive viewers to analyze the narrative, events, and character motivations, pushing them to exercise their critical thinking abilities.

Films like Inception and A Beautiful Mind challenge viewers to employ critical thinking by exploring complicated storylines and themes. These movies encourage audiences to deconstruct the elements of the plot, evaluate the motivations and actions of characters, and critically assess the impact of choices made within the story. By engaging with complex narratives, viewers develop a deeper understanding of the world portrayed in the film and enhance their own critical thinking skills as they explore various perspectives and theories.

Critical Thinking in Dramas

Forrest gump.

Forrest Gump is a captivating drama that takes viewers on an emotional journey through the life of its titular character, played by Tom Hanks. Set in America, the movie follows Forrest Gump, a man with a low IQ, as he navigates various real-life historical events and situations. Through his innocent yet profound perspective, the film encourages viewers to critically examine themes such as acceptance, loyalty, and appreciation.

The character of Forrest Gump teaches us invaluable lessons about resilience, empathy, and determination, challenging the audience’s critical thinking abilities while presenting a heartfelt story. This thought-provoking movie serves as a right of passage for those seeking a deeper understanding of life’s complexities.

Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting is another remarkable drama that fosters critical thinking. The film revolves around a young, self-taught mathematics prodigy, Will Hunting, portrayed by Matt Damon, who faces the challenges of living in a tough, working-class environment in America. The movie delves into real-life issues of identity, relationships, and personal growth while presenting an enthralling story of brilliance, vulnerability, and human connection.

As the protagonist navigates through the intricacies of life and academia, the audience is encouraged to examine their own understanding of success, potential, and self-worth. Through Will’s journey to confront his past and pursue his extraordinary talent, Good Will Hunting provides an excellent opportunity for viewers to reflect and engage their critical thinking skills.

Exploring Philosophy and Beliefs through Movies

The Matrix is a groundbreaking science fiction film that invites audiences to question their beliefs about reality. The movie centers on the character of Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, who discovers that his entire world is actually a simulated reality called the Matrix. Throughout the film, themes of fate, free will, and the nature of reality are explored in a compelling narrative. As it portrays a world where nothing is what it seems, The Matrix challenges viewers to critically examine their own beliefs and assumptions about the world around them.

The Truman Show

Another film that delves into the world of illusions is The Truman Show . This unique story captures the life of Truman, an unwitting participant in a reality TV show that is, unbeknownst to him, centered around his every move. As Truman starts to unravel the truth about his artificial world, the film delves into philosophical questions about the nature of existence, the role of the media in shaping our perceptions, and the importance of personal freedom. With its thought-provoking concepts, The Truman Show encourages critical thinking in the exploration of reality and the human experience.

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas is an ambitious film that takes viewers on a whirlwind journey through multiple time periods, exploring the interconnectedness of human lives across time and space. With its complex narrative structure and a wide range of characters, the film delves into themes of reincarnation, interconnectedness, and the impact of individual actions on the greater world. By weaving together seemingly disparate storylines, Cloud Atlas prompts viewers to contemplate the deeper connections that bind humanity together, inviting them to reflect on their own beliefs and philosophies about the nature of existence and the impact of individual choices on the world.

Movies that Challenge Perception and Reality

Inception is a groundbreaking film that delves into the world of dreams and the manipulation of the human mind. Directed by Christopher Nolan, this psychological thriller introduces us to the concept of dream-sharing and dives deep into the complexities of the subconscious. The film follows a group of skilled professionals, led by Dom Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who specialize in extracting ideas from people’s minds through shared dreaming. Inception challenges our perception of reality in unique ways, pushing the boundaries of film storytelling and leaving viewers questioning the nature of their own dreams and realities.

Being John Malkovich

Being John Malkovich is a quirky, surreal, and thought-provoking film directed by Spike Jonze. The story centers on a puppeteer, Craig Schwartz (played by John Cusack), who discovers a mysterious portal in his office that allows people to enter the mind of actor John Malkovich. This bizarre premise raises intriguing philosophical questions about identity, ego, and the nature of reality. As the film unfolds, the lines between the real world, the fantasy world, and the life of John Malkovich blur together, challenging our preconceived notions of perception and self-awareness.

Shutter Island

Shutter Island is a suspenseful psychological thriller directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane. The film revolves around two U.S. Marshals, Teddy Daniels (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (played by Mark Ruffalo), who are sent to investigate the disappearance of a prisoner from an isolated mental institution on Shutter Island. As they delve deeper into the case, they uncover disturbing truths and confront the terrifying reality that their own sanity is at stake. The film is filled with twists and turns, constantly shifting the viewer’s perception of what is real and what isn’t, while exploring the complexity of human consciousness and the power of the mind.

These movies provide audiences with engaging and fascinating narratives that challenge our grasp on reality and perception. Through their thought-provoking storylines and inventive filmmaking techniques, Inception, Being John Malkovich, and Shutter Island inspire critical thinking and ignite our curiosity about the world around us.

Critical Thinking in Time and Space Movies


Predestination is a fascinating take on time travel, centered on the concept of a temporal agent who tries to prevent crimes before they happen. The movie keeps viewers on their toes, exploring themes of fate, free will, and identity. The protagonist’s journey through various time periods challenges the audience to think critically about the nature of time and the consequences of attempting to control it.


Directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar is a thought-provoking space odyssey that plays with complex theories of time, space, and the future of humanity. The plot follows a team of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for humanity as Earth is on the verge of collapse. The movie stretches the boundaries of science fiction with ideas about black holes, time dilation, and artificial intelligence. The viewer is encouraged to think critically about humanity’s role in the cosmos and the potential consequences of tampering with the fabric of time and space.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Regarded as a masterpiece of science fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey delves deep into themes of human evolution, artificial intelligence, and the search for extraterrestrial life. The movie’s enigmatic presentation of past, present, and future leaves viewers questioning the true nature of reality and human existence. The audience is introduced to HAL 9000, an artificial intelligence system that develops a malfunction with disastrous consequences. This storyline provokes questions about the ethical development and application of AI technology, pushing the viewer to think critically about the relationship between humans and advanced technology.

Movies Encouraging Reflection on Self and Humanity

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a thought-provoking film that delves into the concept of human memory and emotions. Starring Jim Carrey, this movie portrays the desire to erase painful memories in order to move on from a failed relationship. As the story unfolds, it offers a profound look into the soul, highlighting how memories define who we are and help us grow. Viewers are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences and evaluate the importance of embracing both joyful and sorrowful moments in life.

Life of Pi is a visually stunning and deeply contemplative film that centers around a young man named Pi, who finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger following a shipwreck. As he navigates the challenges of survival, the movie delves into themes of spirituality, faith, and the human will to live. The story provides an opportunity for viewers to examine their beliefs, question reality, and consider the role of storytelling in the perception of truth. Through Pi’s journey, Life of Pi offers insights into the complexities of human nature and encourages reflection on the evolution of our convictions and values.

Contagion is a gripping thriller that depicts the spread of a highly contagious and deadly virus. While the primary focus of the movie is on the epidemic and the race to find a cure, it offers a sobering exploration of human behavior in the face of a global crisis. The fear and panic exhibited by characters serve as a reminder of the fragility of society and the importance of cooperation and compassion in times of adversity. Examining the responses of individuals, government agencies, and the media, Contagion triggers discussions on ethics, social responsibility, and the resilience of the human spirit in the midst of chaos.

Critical Thinking in Thriller Movies

Primer is a mind-bending science fiction thriller that leaves viewers questioning the nature of time and the consequences of playing with it. The movie’s complex narrative structure and attention to scientific detail encourage critical thinking in the audience. Directed by Shane Carruth, Primer tells the story of two engineers who accidentally discover time travel and grapple with the ethical implications of their newfound power. The film challenges viewers to think critically about the role that technology plays in our lives, as well as the potential dangers and moral dilemmas associated with scientific advancement.

Memento is another example of a psychological thriller that inspires critical thinking. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film follows the story of Leonard, a man suffering from short-term memory loss, as he tries to unravel the truth about his wife’s murder. The movie is structured in such a way that it mimics Leonard’s disjointed memory, with scenes unfolding in reverse order. This unique storytelling technique engages viewers on a deeper level and promotes critical thinking by forcing them to piece together the narrative on their own. Memento also raises questions about the reliability of memory and the lengths people will go to create a sense of meaning in their lives.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is a thought-provoking thriller that explores themes of political oppression, resistance, and personal freedom. Set in a dystopian future where Britain is ruled by a totalitarian regime, the film follows the mysterious anarchist ‘V’ and his quest to dismantle the fascist government. Directed by James McTeigue and featuring performances from Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman, this movie challenges viewers to critically assess the role of government, the importance of individual liberties, and the true meaning of freedom.

Throughout these thriller films, notable actors such as Hugh Jackman and Brad Pitt have portrayed characters experiencing paranoia and the consequences of difficult choices. Directors like Darren Aronofsky have also contributed to the genre, crafting narratives that leave audiences questioning their understanding of reality and the human psyche. These movies prompt viewers to engage in critical thinking as they navigate intricate plotlines, consider ethical dilemmas, and grapple with philosophical questions.

Appreciating Movies as Art and Stories

Cinema has long been revered as both an art form and a means of storytelling. It provides a unique platform that combines visuals, sound, and narrative to convey powerful messages and evoke emotions. Throughout time, different genres and styles have emerged to challenge audiences’ perspectives, offering thought-provoking experiences.

One exceptional example of artistic storytelling is the film The Lion King . This animated classic transcends its medium by delivering a rich, thought-provoking tale that delves into themes like family, leadership, and the circle of life. The film’s visually stunning animation and evocative score also demonstrate how the art of cinema can elevate a story to new heights.

In recent years, the exploration of artificial intelligence in movies has sparked critical thinking and raised ethical questions. For instance, Ex Machina is a visually captivating and intelligent science fiction film that delves into the complexities of human-like AI. The movie invites viewers to ponder the implications of creating and interacting with such technology, as well as the potential consequences that may arise.

When it comes to appreciating movies as art, the attention to detail in cinematography, sound design, and character development is vital. These elements work cohesively to create an immersive experience that allows the viewer to engage with the story. For instance, beautifully shot landscapes and meticulously curated sets often transport audiences to different worlds, while carefully crafted characters elicit empathy and spark debate.

Moreover, understanding the theme or underlying message of a film further enhances the appreciation of movies as both art and story. These themes can range from societal issues such as poverty or discrimination to existential topics like the value of memories or the nature of time. By paying attention to the intent and vision of the filmmakers, viewers can gain a deeper understanding of the artwork and its significance.

In conclusion, the art of cinema offers a unique platform for telling thought-provoking stories that challenge and inspire the audience. By appreciating the artistic elements and themes present in movies, viewers can engage in critical thinking and find meaning in the stories shared on the big screen. [url=” “]

Educational and inspirational movies play a significant role in fostering critical thinking skills among audiences. These films challenge the viewer’s perspectives and encourage them to analyze complex situations or ideas. By stimulating intellectual curiosity, these movies serve as a valuable addition to educational resources.

Inception, for example, is a well-known critical thinking movie that involves puzzling concepts and intricate storytelling. It pushes the viewers to delve deep into their thought process and keep up with the movie’s intricate plot. Another great example is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a romantic science-fiction film that utilizes a nonlinear storyline to promote critical thinking by constantly challenging the viewers’ beliefs.

Empowering movies such as Good Will Hunting and Forrest Gump also instigate critical thinking while evoking themes of acceptance, loyalty, and appreciation. These must-watch critical thinking movies demonstrate the power of human resilience in overcoming personal and societal obstacles.

Finally, the benefits of critical thinking are not restricted to fictional movies alone. Films like Queen of Katwe, based on true stories of perseverance, showcase the value of strategic thinking and problem-solving skills through engaging chess games .

In summary, the captivating world of movies offers a vast array of films that foster critical thinking while providing audiences with thought-provoking and gratifying experiences. Whether they are fictional stories, biographical dramas, or even documentaries, these movies effectively serve as both educational and inspirational resources in today’s world.

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Matt Damon Makes For an Excellent Unlovable American in Stillwater

Portrait of Alison Willmore

Bill Baker, the Oklahoma oil-rig roughneck abroad played by an excellent Matt Damon in Stillwater , is not a Trump voter, but you can understand why one of the women he meets in Marseilles asks him about it outright. It’s not just that he looks like a guy who might have voted for Trump, from his frustrated outburst about “fake news” and insistence of saying grace over every meal down to the particular style of wraparound sunglasses he favors. He embodies a certain instinctive obstinance, a habit of holding on to what he knows and only what he knows, no matter how much the world might change around him. While the people Bill meets in France tend to react as though they’re anticipating an ugly American, the truth is that Bill isn’t the kind of guy who’d go there at all, given a choice. He’s in Marseilles to see his daughter, Allison (Abigail Breslin), who’s in prison for killing her girlfriend, Lina, while there as an exchange student. It’s a crime she insists she’s innocent of, and, five years into her sentence, she’s come across a tenuous new lead she asks her father to pass along to her lawyer, though he ends up taking up the investigation himself.

Stillwater is the new movie from director Tom McCarthy, and it feels like one he’s spent his career preparing for — an enthralling, exasperating, and, above all else, ambitious affair that doesn’t soften or demand sympathy for its difficult main character but does insist on according him his full humanity. McCarthy is best known for 2015’s Spotlight , which won Best Picture, but most of his work as a director has been devoted to the idea of battling back first impressions to get at the complexity of individuals. Each of his early indies — The Station Agent , The Visitor , and Win Win — use a premise of almost-perverse hokiness as the basis for a subdued character study of enormous generosity. Stillwater is a sprawling realization of that same approach, teasing a tawdry international crime thriller and then offering, instead, a portrait of a man trying to make up for past regrets with one big swing and constantly frustrated by his inability to meet the standards he’s set for himself. Bill spends a good part of Stillwater looking for redemption, but the film is more interested in the idea of learning to live with your mistakes.

Bill’s relationship with Allison has been shaped by those mistakes, and we come to understand that she counts on him as her point of contact with the outside world without really trusting him. McCarthy started off as an actor, and he has a way of writing for great performances that seems counterintuitive at first because his movies are so averse to grandstanding or big monologues. But he approaches his characters like they’re iceberg tips, the bulk of their lives a submerged but solid presence that can be sensed, even if it’s mostly unseen. Details about Allison’s childhood and Bill’s drug- and drink-fueled absenteeism emerge slowly from both of them, and it’s clear that while Bill’s been showing up for her regularly, Allison wouldn’t be surprised if he stopped at any moment. He still thinks of a relationship as something that can be fixed rather than something that’s nurtured and maintained, and his eagerness to clear his daughter’s name (while lying to her about her attorney’s inaction) speaks to preference for the cleanness of action. For a while, his determination is effective, and Damon is particularly deft at showing how Bill’s doggedness works without giving the character’s efforts any fish-out-of-water cutesiness.

His blunt-force approach carries him forward until it doesn’t, and when Bill’s amateur detective work stalls out, the film takes a startling turn toward the domestic by way of Virginie ( Call My Agent! ’s Camille Cottin), a Parisian transplant who starts giving Bill translation help, and her ebullient daughter, Maya (the wonderful Lilou Siauvaud). Virginie is part of the local theater scene and has a touch of kamikaze do-gooderism that leads her to open her home to a relative stranger. Her Gallic bohemianism neither overlaps with nor lines up in opposition to Bill’s blue-collar stolidity. It’s her friend who asks if Bill voted for Trump and who’s briefly stymied by his response that he didn’t vote at all because his criminal record forbids it. If it’s never clear how much of a willing enlistee Bill is in his country’s ongoing culture war, the film is also aware of the fact that those schisms don’t export neatly. Bill, still scarred from the way Allison’s crime inflamed press attention because her lover was Arab and female, has no idea what to make of the way that a professor at her school casts her as a privileged American dating a poor girl from the inner city. But Allison didn’t grow up with money, Bill protests, and the man avers that she was nevertheless the one with power in the relationship and that “there is a lot of resentment toward the educational elite.”

Allison wanted to get far away from her father and from everything she knew, but one of the themes of the movie is that she’s more like Bill than she wants to admit. Stillwater can’t get away from its own origins either in the end, and after a delicate and lovely middle section in which the film liberates itself from any obligations to address the murder as something other than an intractable fact, it surrenders to obligations toward plot again. It’s a development that feels as inevitable as a visa expiring, with everyone having to take up the narrative that’s the ostensible reason the film exists, even if it feels artificial compared to what’s come before. At the start of Stillwater , Bill rides home from a post-storm cleanup job back in Oklahoma, and as two of his colleagues talk in subtitled Spanish, the audience is invited into a conversation Bill doesn’t understand. One man marvels at the fact that the destroyed houses are likely to be rebuilt just as they were. “I don’t think Americans like change,” the other observes, to which the first replies, “I don’t think a tornado cares what Americans think.” It’s a discussion that feels like it could apply to the movie they’re a part of, one that lays waste to expectations but ultimately can’t help but go back to the way things always are.

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‘Stillwater’ Examines Lives in Wreckage, With Matt Damon at the Center

By K. Austin Collins

K. Austin Collins

Matt Damon ’s new movie, Stillwater , opens by building up to a gentle but pointed bit of misdirection, the subtle sort of deviation from our expectations meant to say as much about the audience as it does about the man at the story’s center — something of an running theme for this particular movie. When we first see Bill Baker (Damon), he’s waist-deep in rubble, the recognizable but devastated remains of what used to be someone’s home. Bill is a roughneck from Oklahoma, a state squarely, oft-tragically at the center of that mid-U.S. stretch known as Tornado Alley. His main line of work used to be oil rigs; when that labor dried up and he got laid off, he turned to construction. In the wake of a tornado, construction skills are easy to repurpose for demolition and recovery. So that’s what Bill does. He is, at this stage of his life, a maker of things. 

Yet thanks to that tornado, he’s getting his hands dirty in the remains of utter mess, the wreck of lives painfully unmade — another theme in the making. It’s clear early on that we’re meant to experience the world of this movie through Bill’s eyes, or at the very least firmly at his side. When he’s riding home from the wreckage with some colleagues, at dusk, he overhears them saying, “I don’t think Americans like to change,” and “I don’t think the tornado cares what Americans like.” Only they’re speaking Spanish. If Bill understands it, he doesn’t react to it; Damon’s face gives nothing away. Nor is the man overly emotive soon after, when paying a visit to his mother-in-law, Sharon (Deanna Dunagan), and the pair engage each other in naturalistically terse conversation, talk full of ellipses that we don’t realize are ellipses, because real people don’t speak as if they know strangers are watching — and these, the movie is committed to impressing upon us, are real people.

It’s not long before Bill hops on a plane, seemingly all of a sudden, and lands — in France. In sunny, coastal Marseilles, to be exact, a fact that lands with the force of a punchline, despite there being nothing funny at stake in the particulars of this voyage. It’s early in the movie, and Damon — a more than capable actor, whose physical commitment to his roles is, in contrast to his oft-touted ability to “disappear,” remarkably underrated — has already sold us on Bill as a man who could plausibly be the man that the movie wants us to believe he is. He is a “Yes, ma’am” type of guy with an Okie drawl, eyes often hiding behind his wraparound shades, jeans stiff, cap grimed with years of oil and sweat, and an array of plaid shirts, bulgy with hard-working, middle-age fat and muscle, that tells us there’s little distance between a work uniform and everyday life for this man. He’s in France but does not speak French. When it comes to picking accommodations, he opts for what must feel like a slice of home: a Best Western. He is pronouncedly, unabashedly, though not quite crudely, a so-called red-blooded American. So, a fish out of water — and eventually gasping for breath. Stillwater , which was directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy ( Spotlight ), has been advertised and described as a thriller. But it doesn’t open like one. It opens like this: with a slow accrual of details, in which it’s almost easy to miss Bill noticing what appear to be oil refineries just outside of Marseilles, as if he plans to stay awhile; or the fact that the hotel workers already know Bill’s name, making him less of a stranger in a strange land than, to the French eye, simply a little strange. This is an apt choice for a story in which a sense of being out of place while increasingly desperate, having to rely on others while navigating utterly unfamiliar cultural terrain, is going to matter a great deal; it is, in so many ways, the point of the story. 

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Rather, it’s one point of the story. The other part is the stuff that’s gotten Stillwater in a bit of trouble, earning it the courtesy of being called “a calamitous reworking of [a] notorious murder case.” Bill’s not here for pleasure; he’s here to visit his daughter, Allison ( Abigail Breslin ), who’s in prison for the murder of her French Arabic roommate — a case that bears an undeniable resemblance to the 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. This is a case that is more commonly associated with the woman wrongfully convicted — twice — of that murder : Amanda Knox , a fellow exchange student from Seattle, who along with her boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, despite the fingerprints of the actual murderer, Rudy Guede, being present at the scene. Knox was fully exonerated in 2015. She has, it’s no surprise to hear, heard about Stillwater , heard about the resemblance to her case, and is not pleased . 

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And it’s true: The similarities are more than a matter of mere resemblance. The film in fact started, according to McCarthy , with the Kercher murder and the accused Knox more fully on its mind, until the director, who co-wrote the script, became more interested in the surrounding circumstances. But even Stillwater ’s expansion beyond the 2007 tragedy and its aftermath feels somewhat drawn from Knox’s story, given the film’s focus on the heroics — many of them, in the film’s case, wrongheaded — of the accused Knox’s father was one of her most diligent and vocal advocates throughout her ordeal. Stillwater ’s basic premise is that of a man who, after being slipped a note by his daughter and asked to pass it along to her attorney, feels compelled to save her in light of the system failing her. Allison gets a tip that she wants her attorney to look into: a man, she’s been told, has confessed to a murder that bears striking resemblance to that for which she’s imprisoned. Her attorney, calling the tip hearsay, feels it would be wiser not to give the young woman false hope and advises Bill to perform in kind. Instead, Bill steps in and begins to investigate on his own; he can’t afford the private detective that he’s been recommended. And besides, he has some making up to do with his daughter. Theirs is a strained relationship from the start. So begins much invention on the film’s part.

The complications of Stillwater and, really, the meat and bones of its story, have less to do with the Mercher-Knox story in itself than with these inventions. Suffice it to say that Bill has his reasons for wanting to do right by his daughter at this stage of her life and that, for her, it’s too little, too late. He also needs help navigating the labyrinth of a foreign country in which he does not speak the language, in any sense of the word; the movie doesn’t shy away from making good on the promise of his being wholly, stubbornly out of place. Bill, now having to extend his stay way beyond what he’d planned, falls in with a single mother, Virginie (Camille Cottin), and her daughter Maya (Lilou Siauvaud), who become his guides, his English teachers, and — well. 

It makes for a satisfying film in some ways, primarily because of Damon, Cottin, and Siauvaud, and the mere curiosity of their playing house — she a French actress whose work in theater is way above Bill’s head, he a hands-on gentle giant with a past, a man who did not vote for Trump (which he’s of course asked), but only because, as a convicted felon, he couldn’t vote at all. No one has to say: But he would have . But much of what fascinates the movie seems to be the fact that he would have, which carries with it all manner of opportunity for presumption and assumption on the part of the audience. The movie knows what it’s doing when it tees these ideas up and gently circumvents them with a sometimes-effective veneer of human complexity. How will Bill respond when a bar owner he questions starts to spout off rampant anti-Arab comments? And when this story begins to boil down to a white American with an Oklahoma drawl hunting down a French Arab twentysomething who’s done wrong by his daughter, what violence is the film pushing us to expect? 

It’d be more openly ridiculous, feel far more manipulative, if not for Damon’s performance, which — despite his Cambridge-born, Harvard dropout roots — is widely appreciated for what people insist on calling his “Everyman” qualities . I’d sooner say that Damon’s magic is in making a certain plainness, a near-anonymity, defiantly charismatic. This is what makes him great in spy movies like The Good Shepherd , where he practically blends into the surrounding furniture of the movie, and what makes the “Where’s Waldo?” suspensions of belief at the heart the Bourne franchise, or the against-the-odds implausibility of The Martian , so effective. Stillwater depends on precisely that matrix of actorly skill and unvarnished likability; Damon’s other magic trick is removing all signs of the strings holding the performance together, like he’s his own CGI wizard, his own best special effect.

What this means for Stillwater : A  movie that’s complicated, moving, and accordingly frustrating. You can feel it trying to paint the most rigorously humane portrait of, not only its hero, but the thorny sidebars of the situation he’s found himself in — the tense racial discomforts, the nauseating swerves into Bill’s bad decisions. McCarthy’s prevailing approach here as in Spotlight , his nonstyle style, its tempered lack of visual flare paired with its heightened attentiveness to Damon’s (and Cottin’s!) centrifugal star power, feels at times like a ruse for obscuring just how carefully modulated, even calculating, it is in its politics. We can’t help but notice that as his daughter speaks freely about the woman whose murder she’s accused of as being her girlfriend, her red-blooded, prayerful, gun-owning father, who deploys the phrase “fake news” despite by and large refusing to discuss politics, doesn’t even wince. It’s on us, the movie seems to say, that we’d assume homophobia of the man. This is the sly power of McCarthy’s style and intentions: Our assumptions become more readily noticeable as, possibly, matters of projection. 

The illusion often works — until it doesn’t. The movie’s assured realism sometimes butts up against moments that feel woefully misguided, mangled in either the script, the editing room, or both — such as its failure to make proper dramatic sense of characters’ feelings in the aftermath of someone’s suicide attempt, or a late choice to save someone’s ass that doesn’t quite add up psychologically or make sense logistically. The movie’s attentive sense of noticing makes its flaws, its leaps in logic, easier to notice. But this seems to matter less to the filmmakers than what the style has to offer the movie in terms of a message; on this front, Stillwater is tellingly consistent. Damon and McCarthy have both spoken at length about the time they spent in Oklahoma, among real-life roughnecks, earning their trust, learning their ways, feeling more confident in the goodness of the world, the nuances in people, thanks to the lessons learned and memories shared. (“It was truly intellectually exciting and engaging,” McCarthy has said, astonished to the point of near-condescension. “I was impressed by them on a lot of levels. Truly impressed by them.”) 

The realism is not incidental and not unsatisfying. But nor is it always as wise as it would seem. In the best case, what Stillwater encourages are genuine instances of reflection, particularly for and about a man in Bill’s shoes. The connections drawn between anti-Arab sentiment in both France and the U.S. are, by brunt of who Bill is, ripe for consideration. To lean too heavily into this subject would be to shatter the illusion of Bill’s ironic complexity — ironic, that is, for the people who’d be prone to writing him off. But the movie is invested in Bill’s complexity to the point of most everyone else, everything else, getting short shrift. A scene of Bill’s bullheaded, indiscreet wandering through what the movie depicts as something like the Marseilles projects, beholden to the familiar codes of snitching and the like that you’d expect of a scene set in the United States, ends in violence — the central point being a reiteration of Bill simply not knowing how to navigate a place such as this, with the undertone being a little less easily overlooked, a bit too slow to question the racial stereotypes piling up by the second. 

It all — all of it, including the slow-building romance — leads up to a climax in which Bill makes a desperate, unwise decision. He risks everything. Ultimately, as in the case of its relationship to the Amanda Knox story, the movie can’t get around the consequences, for everyone else in this tale, of choosing to be so fully tied to Bill, so singularly focused on his desires and regrets and the idiosyncrasies that make him more than a stereotype, that the decision he makes somehow primarily moves us for what it means to his life, his chances, when there’s in fact another person who’s life is stake. A mistake is made; a rash decision is pushed to a devastating conclusion. Devastating for whom, is the question this film can’t quite face with the fullness that the question deserves.

In moments like this, it’s worth stepping back and asking ourselves who the movie is making us care about, why, and at what cost. In Bill’s case, the choices that pile up toward the end make us feel so fully for him that the movie nearly drives off-road into a rut from which it can’t recover. Dramatically, it works: The agitation we feel on his behalf is effective. Only when it ends do we realize what’s being left unsaid, whose life is ultimately rendered far less worthy of our sympathy and attention. This is when the movie shows us, ultimately and unabashedly, what it is — and suffers for its lack of reflection over what it could be. 

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Critical thinking definition

critical thinking film review guardian

Critical thinking, as described by Oxford Languages, is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

Active and skillful approach, evaluation, assessment, synthesis, and/or evaluation of information obtained from, or made by, observation, knowledge, reflection, acumen or conversation, as a guide to belief and action, requires the critical thinking process, which is why it's often used in education and academics.

Some even may view it as a backbone of modern thought.

However, it's a skill, and skills must be trained and encouraged to be used at its full potential.

People turn up to various approaches in improving their critical thinking, like:

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  • Engaging in more active listening
  • Actively questioning their assumptions and beliefs
  • Seeking out more diversity of thought
  • Opening up their curiosity in an intellectual way etc.

Is critical thinking useful in writing?

Critical thinking can help in planning your paper and making it more concise, but it's not obvious at first. We carefully pinpointed some the questions you should ask yourself when boosting critical thinking in writing:

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  • What degree of technical knowledge should the report assume its audience has?
  • What is the most effective way to show information?
  • How should the report be organized?
  • How should it be designed?
  • What tone and level of language difficulty should the document have?

Usage of critical thinking comes down not only to the outline of your paper, it also begs the question: How can we use critical thinking solving problems in our writing's topic?

Let's say, you have a Powerpoint on how critical thinking can reduce poverty in the United States. You'll primarily have to define critical thinking for the viewers, as well as use a lot of critical thinking questions and synonyms to get them to be familiar with your methods and start the thinking process behind it.

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  1. Film Review: Critical Thinking

    critical thinking film review guardian

  2. ‎Critical Thinking (2020) directed by John Leguizamo • Reviews, film

    critical thinking film review guardian

  3. Critical Thinking (Film

    critical thinking film review guardian

  4. Le film Critical Thinking, échecs et égalité des chances

    critical thinking film review guardian

  5. Critical Thinking

    critical thinking film review guardian

  6. Critical Thinking (2020) Official Movie Trailer

    critical thinking film review guardian


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  1. Critical Thinking movie review (2020)

    The film is barely 15 minutes old when this happens, but it immediately establishes that "Critical Thinking" has no plans of abandoning reality for its feel-good message. That sense of realism extends to the way the characters bond with, rib, and defend each other. Additionally, Leguizamo plays Martinez as someone who understands the ...

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  3. Critical Thinking (2020)

    Critical Thinking: Directed by John Leguizamo. With John Leguizamo, Rachel Bay Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Corwin C. Tuggles. The true story of the Miami Jackson High School chess team which was the first inner city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship.

  4. Critical Thinking (film)

    Critical Thinking is a 2020 American biographical drama film based on the true story of the 1998 Miami Jackson High School chess team, the first inner-city team to win the U.S. National Chess Championship.. Critical Thinking was directed by John Leguizamo (in his directorial debut), written by Dito Montiel, and stars Leguizamo alongside Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Angel Bismark Curiel, Will Hochman ...

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  9. ‎Critical Thinking (2020) directed by John Leguizamo • Reviews, film

    Cast. John Leguizamo Rachel Bay Jones Michael Kenneth Williams Corwin C. Tuggles Jorge Lendeborg Jr. Angel Bismark Curiel Will Hochman Jeffry Batista Zora Casebere Ramses Jimenez Todd Allen Durkin Brandon Somers Isaac Beverly Ruben E. A. Brown Sydney Arroyo Carlos Guerrero Michele Lepe Tatum Price. 117 mins More at IMDb TMDb.

  10. Movie Review

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    Parents need to know that Critical Thinking is a fact-based drama about a high school chess team from an underserved community that defies the odds to make it to the U.S. National Chess Championship. Directed by and starring John Leguizamo, the movie has frequent swearing ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), underage cigarette smoking, drug dealing, punching, strangling, and gun violence that results in death.

  12. Best Movies for Critical Thinking: Top Picks to Challenge Your Mind

    5 Movies that Challenge Perception and Reality. 5.1 Inception. 5.2 Being John Malkovich. 5.3 Shutter Island. 6 Critical Thinking in Time and Space Movies. 6.1 Predestination. 6.2 Interstellar. 6.3 2001: A Space Odyssey. 7 Movies Encouraging Reflection on Self and Humanity.

  13. Critical Thinking

    1 h 57 m. Summary Based on a true story from 1998, five LatinX and Black teenagers from the toughest underserved ghetto in Miami fight their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher. Drama. Directed By: John Leguizamo. Written By: Dito Montiel.

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  19. Watch Critical Thinking

    Critical Thinking. 2020 | Maturity Rating:TV-MA | 1h 57m | Drama. An unwavering teacher and his students must overcome the perils in their underserved community as they compete in a national chess tournament. Starring:John Leguizamo, Corwin C. Tuggles, Angel Bismark Curiel. Watch all you want.

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    The Critic review - a devious Ian McKellen anchors uneven thriller This article is more than 6 months old A delicious performance as a catty gay theatre critic in 1930s London almost saves this ...

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